From irrelevant to relevant: Rams LB Vobora to start vs. Seahawks

ST. LOUIS -- David Vobora is "Mr. Irrelevant" no more.

The final player selected in the 2008 draft will get his first start at linebacker on Sunday as the Rams open the season at Seattle.

Age: 23

Height: 6-1 Weight: 239

College: Idaho

Experience: 2nd season

"I'm excited. It's a great opportunity," Vobora said Friday. "I've been watching a lot of film and doing my preparation and hopefully, that will translate into good play on the field."

Vobora, from Idaho, was the 252nd player chosen in the 2008 draft. The final pick annually earns the title "Mr. Irrelevant."

"We hope this year, in 2009, he's Mr. Relevant," defensive coordinator Ken Flajole said. "I'm pleased he's getting this opportunity to show what he can do. Hopefully, he'll just take it and run."

Vobora, 6-1 and 239 pounds, moved into the starting role when the Rams cut veteran Chris Draft on Thursday. The 11-year veteran declined to take a pay cut in the final year of his three-year contract. Draft started 16 games over the past two seasons.

At 23, he is 10 years younger than Draft, who was the third-oldest remaining Ram. Since the end of 2008, the Rams have gone from the third-oldest team in the NFL to the third-youngest.

Vobora played in eight games last season and had 15 tackles. He started one game and had 10 tackles in that Week 13 game against the Dolphins.

"I've always tried to prepare everyday as if I was a starter," Vobora said.

Rookie coach Steve Spagnuolo said he has been impressed by Vobora throughout training camp.

"He had stepped up there," Spagnuolo said. "Hopefully, we won't skip a beat."

Vobora will play strong-side linebacker against Seattle, often going up against tight end John Carlson. Veteran linebacker Will Witherspoon believes he'll be fine.

"He's come a long ways," Witherspoon said. "He's done a good job picking up this defense. He's very well prepared. He's done exactly what he needs to."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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